Shocking Facts About Sugar that You Need to Know

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By Dr. Gaila Mackenzie-Strawn MS,DC, CTN

There are an estimated 300,000 deaths per year due to the obesity epidemic. After decades of research, experts conclude that sugar is to blame. Since the late 70’s, Americans have more than doubled their dietary sugar intake. As a result, Type 2 Diabetes now accounts for 95% of all Diabetes cases.  In the 70’s, the disease was practically never seen in children but today it is estimated that there are 3,700 new cases of it in children each year in the U.S.  But Diabetes is only one health threat related to sugar consumption. According to the National Institutes of Health, obesity is now the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., coming in just behind tobacco use.

Here are 5 things you need to know about eating too much sugar:

1. Too Much Sugar Decreases Resistance to Infection

Eating sugary treats lowers your resistance to infection. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that people’s white blood cell counts were reduced for up to 5 hours after they ate one hundred grams of sugar – that’s about 4 oz. of Skittles or 4 chocolate bars. Did you ever wonder why the incidence of colds and flu seems to increase after holidays?

2. Loss of Essential Nutrients

Satisfying your hunger with sugar does nothing to meet your daily nutrient intake requirements.  Most sugary foods do not contain any vitamins, minerals, essential fats or proteins and high sugar intake actually robs you of valuable nutrients such as iron, vitamins A and C and calcium.  Deficiencies of these nutrients can lead to health problems, including anemia and lowered immunity.

3. Addiction 

Eating sugar causes a large release of your pleasure hormones, dopamine and serotonin.  This “sugar high” can lead to addiction and eventually to the development of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  The following image (shown in the film Fed Up) compares the effects of sugar and cocaine on the brain.  Startling, isn’t it?

Sugar Lights up the Brain just like Cocaine...

4. Swings in Blood Sugar

Consuming sugary foods causes a rapid rise in your blood sugar.  Your pancreas responds by releasing extra insulin to get the sugar out of your blood.  After the initial sugar rush, your blood sugar levels drop dramatically.  In an attempt to balance your blood sugar levels, your body will release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. The release of these stress hormones can raise your heart rate and leave you feeling shaky and nauseated.

5. Can Increase Risk of Developing Cancer

Many scientists believe that constantly elevating your insulin levels through sugar consumption can contribute to cancer.  Consuming sugar can also increase inflammation in your body, another potential cause of cancer. Multiple studies have shown that people who consume high amounts of sugar have a much higher risk of developing cancer.


Fed Up is a documentary that reveals shocking truths about  food in America and explains why it’s so tough to avoid sugar: